Martial arts has helped define Aung La N Sang’s life.
As well as his competitive efforts inside the ONE Championship cage, his martial arts journey also helped him find love.
Now married to his wife Katie, and blessed with a young son, Aung La N Sang says his martial arts training was a major reason for him having a family today.
“I do not think we would have met [my wife] if it was not for Crazy 88, because everything else in our life is so different,” he explained.
“The things she does and the things I do are very different. [Before we were married], she lived north of Crazy 88, and I lived south of Crazy 88, so she would have been hanging out north of Baltimore, and I would have been more south. We probably would never have met.”
The pair met at the gym, where Aung La N Sang was both training and teaching, as Katie arrived looking to start training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The pair both noticed each other straight away, and Katie eventually took the plunge and asked him out.
“She was new at the time, and then she asked me out,” he recollects.
“I said no at first, because I was also her instructor and the kickboxing instructor, and we were not supposed to date [the students]. So, I told her no.”
“She kept persisting, and then I finally gave up,” he smiled.
“I went out with her, and she was really nice, and so we dated.
“Probably the first or second year into the relationship, I knew she was the one, because we were the perfect fit with each other.”
The pair eventually were married in 2013 at a local courthouse, with a formal ceremony taking place the following year. Their first son, Aung De, then followed in 2015.
It changed Aung La N Sang’s life in a major way, as he found himself having to provide for his young family. But the couple still managed to train together at the gym where they first met, Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts, with both earning purple belts in BJJ.
Katie’s own love of martial arts has proved a valuable support to Aung La N Sang in his competitive career, as she’s been a constant support throughout his athletic endeavours.
“She has always been there for me, from day one,” he said.
“She has been with me, and she believes in me. Even when I was losing, she was always my biggest fan. She always finds my matches exciting, though I always try to put on exciting matches.”
His next matchup sees Aung La N Sang take on Brazil’s Alexandre “Bebezao” Machado for the vacant ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship at ONE: QUEST FOR GOLD on Friday, 23 February in Yangon, Myanmar.
In a change to his usual regime, he has switched training camps, heading down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to train at Hard Knocks 365, around 1,000 miles away from home.
It’s made family life tougher during his training camp, as he’s spent so much time separated from his family, but he knows the sacrifice will be worthwhile when he steps into the cage to become a two-weight world champion.
“I have not had much time to spend with them, but when I have time to spend with them, I focus all my attention, energy, and soul on them,” Aung La N Sang said.
“They really motivate me to be better, and really motivate me to make the most out of my opportunities and to not waste any time getting to my goals.
“A lot of my decisions in my martial arts career are made so on I can take care of them.”